App Store Optimization Fundamentals You Need To Master

App Store Optimization is the remarkable and crucial pillar of your mobile app marketing.

To understand its significance in your mobile app’s life, let us begin with the basic question-‘What is Mobile App Store Optimization?’

Mobile Application Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the presentation of your mobile app in the app store to rank up high in its search results and entice the viewer.

App Store Optimization

Now, the question comes-‘Where do you need ASO?’

You might have built an amazing Mobile Application or App which is purposeful and handy.

You might also be planning to do your mobile app optimization according to your customer segment using different remarkable tools available in the market.

And that is where ASO comes into the picture.

App Store Optimization is one of the mobile app optimization techniques which has an enormous impact on your mobile app growth.

Now, it’s time to understand the explanation for the next important question about ASO.

‘Why do you need Mobile App Store Optimization?’

There are innumerable apps for iOS, Android, Windows or any app store available today.

According to Statista, an average of 6,140 mobile apps are released every day through the Google Play Store, and an average of 1,434 mobile apps are released every day through the Apple App Store.

Now, the question comes- how far your app survive in such a competition?

Forget about installations and engagement of your App, how many people would be able to notice it at the least?

The answer will not satisfy unless you do proper ASO.

It is because an App store is a place where a majority of users will discover your app.

Mobile app discovery sources

It means, your app needs to be in top chart lists, featured apps or rank high in the app store search results.

But, how far will the listing in top charts or featured apps help your app to obtain installations?

statistics of sources to find appsIt is only 10% of the users who find and install the apps which are listed on the top charts, and only 9% of them see them from featured list.

Whereas, 47% of users search for an app by typing in search tab of the app store.

Here comes the role of App SEO optimization

It is the category of Mobile Application Store Optimization which deals with keywords for your app and their usage.

The user types the keyword in the search tab of the app store to find the apps related to the keyword.

And when your app’s rank is higher, the possibility for more number of potential customers to view your app in the search results increases.

Eventually, it leads to more traffic to your app page.

But, the task is not finished yet.

Your app should be visually alluring and should compel the visitor to download or install your App.

Here is where the role of App store visuals optimization comes into the play.

It is another category of App Store Optimization which deals with optimizing different aspects of your app’s visual presentation.

If the app is relevant and attractive enough, a good percentage of the driven traffic end up downloading your app.

In this way, ASO has a very crucial role in your app growth.

Let us understand the various factors which influence the ASO and what are the best practices which you need to employ for appropriate ASO.

For App SEO optimization

1 # Choose the right category in the App store

After you build your app for the intended app store, the next important task you need to carry very carefully is selecting the right category for your App in the App store.

Categories on the App Stores help the users to discover new apps according to their needs.

Hence, it has a potential role in your App Store Optimization.

Therefore, make sure that the category you choose accurately reflects your app’s core experience.

To decide which category will best serve your app, consider the following Mobile App Store Optimization techniques:

Your primary category should be the one which best describes the primary function or subject matter of your app.

You need to understand your audience to identify the category in which they will likely look for your app.

Research how similar apps are categorized because users may already be habituated to these categories to find this type of app.

Moreover, Apple introduced subcategories as part of the iOS 8.

It divides the App store into micro-segments and allows developers to rank highly in specific fields. 

sub categories in iOS store.source: Apple insider forum

Thus, it is an added advantage for iOS app store optimization.

If your app does not fit into any of the provided categories, you can categorize it by selecting- ‘other category.’

Thus, choose the most appropriate category of your app for better Mobile Application Store Optimization.

2 # Keywords optimization

As mentioned previously, keywords are the phrases which your potential customers ‘type’ in the search tab of a store to find the apps.

It is the basis for ASO of any app for ranking up high in the search result.

Knowing which keywords are most used by your target audience helps your app to obtain a better ranking in search results.

Ideally, your keywords need to strike a balance between high search volumes, low-level competition with higher relevancy.

Finding keywords for your app is much like finding keywords for your website, and it is what directs the further App store optimization process of an app.

Therefore, for App Store Optimization, the keywords should represent the term the customers may use to recognize the function of your app.

That is, the keywords or the key phrases can be about your app functionalities, features, benefits, etc.

You need to keep in mind that your keywords should speak in the tone of your target audience.

You need to think what value does your app provide to your users or what is the necessity it resolves?

All the answers to these questions can form the base of the keywords list of your app.

Then you need to strategically filter your keywords list.

For this, there are free tools available in the market which gives you suggested keywords with search volumes and other statistical data about each keyword.

keywords-search volume-ASO

source: micronicheapps.com

You can make use of tools like App Annie and Sensor tower that provide keywords which are trending in that particular domain and in the market.

You can also track how often these keywords are searched within the app stores.

It really helps for most opportune App store optimization.

It is always better to target mid and long tail keywords in the beginning.

Such keyword combinations generally have high search volume and lower competition.

You need to incorporate these keywords in keywords field, app title, Subtitle, description, developer name, and in-app purchases.

So, sticking to the relevancy is the most prioritized aspect of app store optimization.

Since the place allotted for keyword insertion in different app store fields is limited, the ASO techniques can help you to make most out of it.

You should not include plural word forms as keywords if you have already included singular forms.

You need to separate words with commas instead of using space.

Do not repeat the keywords which you have already included in your app name.

Moreover, IOS app store has an algorithm which automatically mixes and matches your keywords, creating various combinations of keywords to rank up your app.

3 # Choose the right app title

Your app title is the name which appears on your app store listing, and it is one of the first things which the users notice when they search for your app.

Therefore, your app title should reflect your brand and business.

Also, it is one of the most potent ranking factors that are responsible for good app store optimization for both search rankings and conversion rates.

Moreover, using keywords in the app title results in the increase in your app ranking by 10.3%.

Keywords in title for app store optimization

Hence, the best advice is to keep your brand name short and memorable for the users and utilize the rest of the space to insert your core keywords.

Also, your app title should have a keyword which can drive the heavy search traffic.

Therefore, do proper and intense research to find out that focus keyword.

Because, if you keep changing your title with different keywords, it affects the growth of your app, no matter how much good it is.

Also, see that your app name is unique.

Else, it may mislead people to download some other app instead of yours.

People will talk about your app as it gains more views.

Thus, your app will spread to the public by mouth.

If the title is changed, it is difficult for word to spread about your app.

Hence, choose your app title wisely.

For Google play store and iOS app stores, the character limits for app title are 50 and 30 characters respectively.

Keep titles short, memorable, and under limited characters as per the app store guidelines while using embedded keywords for proper app store optimization.

4 # Subtitle ( for iOS app store only)

It is the new feature provided in iOS 11, and it has the limit of 30 characters.

And it is one of the prominent factors considered for app store optimization in iOS store.

Subtitles are always showed together with the title (underneath) and has substantial influence in keyword rankings.

It means, along with your title, your subtitle is displayed to the user in the following places:

  •        Your app store product page
  •        When your app got featured in the Games or Apps tab
  •        In search results
  •        When your app is displayed in top charts

subtitle-app store optimization

source: app radar

You need to keep the subtitle clear and short for better app store optimization.

And, the subtitle is primarily meant for summarizing an app in an additional statement where you can highlight the best features of your app.

You need to avoid generic descriptions in subtitles. Instead, you can point out key features or typical use cases.

In a way, it is a chance for you to utilize the appealing keywords which can be more descriptive, which you cannot use within the title.

Also, you must avoid using duplicate keywords or synonyms in the title and subtitle.

There needs to be a logical relationship between your keywords combinations in your title and subtitle.

keywords combination in title and subtitle
source: App agent

5 # Description optimization

Your app description is one of the important aspects of app store optimization.

Here, you need to give a detailed description of what your app does.

You can use hooking frameworks in your description to attract your audience.

Make sure you highlight all the key benefits, incentives, features and functionalities of your app.

Keep in mind that your app description should not take much of space on the screen of mobile devices.

Although it seems like you have a lot of space to write the description, you don’t actually.

Moreover, most of the visitors do not click on “more’ tab to read beyond what they see in the truncated snippets.

Description snippet in app store

Therefore, it is recommended to focus on first 3-5 lines or 255 characters of your description where you can immediately grab your reader’s attention by pitching your app’s potential.

Also, information like awards and accolades should be added at the end of description as it does not talk about the reasons for the audience to download or install your app.

You should use as many keywords as you can, but also keep it relevant and intriguing.

Unnecessary usage of keywords may have the adverse effect on your user’s experience.

Google scans your app’s description to extract relevant keywords.

In both IOS and Google play store, you’re given 4,000 characters to describe your app in natural, customer-facing language.

Stuffing the keywords, concentrated at one particular place of your app description gives it a spammy image, and it affects your app ranking.

Instead, you need to sprinkle the relevant keywords wherever they make sense logically.

According to sensortower.com, you should include a target keyword in your Google Play description five times for best results.

Moreover, your intentional usage of keywords repetitively may even turn off your potential customer.

Thus, you need to keep in mind that your app description is for your customer but not solely app store algorithm.

Although you may achieve good rank for your app by tactically inserting irrelevant keywords in description, it will fail to entice the customers to take the next step and install your app.

For best app store optimization, write the description for the customer first, and make small edits for keywords next.

You need to remember that the ranking algorithms take keywords, relevance and also conversion metrics into account.

For Visual App Store optimization 

Apps are not only just the products which provide service to the users but also act as an important mobile marketing channel for your company.

Every mobile marketing channel is associated with specific mobile marketing challenges and so are apps.

Easy app discovery is one of the prominent mobile marketing challenges experienced by the marketers.

Although users discover your app, not many apps are visually captivating to them and are losing out potential leads.

It is the subsequent mobile marketing challenge which needs be resolved for better results, by App store optimization for the following factors.

6 # App icon

Your app icon is meant for capturing the attention of the audience and no wonder they will judge the performance of your app by its icon.

Hence, it is one of the crucial aspects of your app store optimization.

Since, it is also one of the first aspects of an app which the user notice, it is essential that your app icon gains positive first impression.

Also, your app icon has a substantial effect on CTR and conversion rate.

The iOS Store and Google Play have different algorithms and approaches in rendering app icons.

Both stores have preset standards for the ideal size, color scheme, and geometry of app icons which needs to be designed accordingly to match the rest of the OS.

For iOS icons, the most important thing to note is that icons should be sized to at least 1024×1024 pixels, the dimensions required by the App Store.

From here, the Apple OS will resize your icon for any other applications, including app icons (180×180), navigation icons (66×66), and tab bar icons (75×75).

When designing an Android icon, the Google Play requires a 512×512 icon size.

Thus, you need to do app store optimization according to the store that your app designed for.

Your app icon should be easily recognizable.

It should be simple, clear and avoid words.

Remember that your app icon is not meant for reading.

Your icon should be visible at any size and should merge with the overall style of your app.

Compare your app icon with some of the top app icons in the app store.

Are you able to quickly spot it on your phone when it is hidden among other apps?

Your app icon should stand unique and reflect your brand.

app icons-app store optimization

source: Apply pixels

Employ an excellent graphic designer and never compromise on the quality of the product.

For better app logo or icon, you can create it with the 3D effect which has much concentration in the center portion of the app.

It gives the effect of popping up towards the viewers and thus, immediately grabs the attention.

Choose your background color which is in contrast to the central design.

According to Incipia, Icons with the simple color palette with maximum two colors are better ranked than the apps with color combinations of three or more.

Moreover, users prefer apps whose icons have a polished look and have effects like shadows and transitions.

Test your app icon design on different backgrounds and make sure it should be bright and visible against any wallpaper for

better app store optimization.

7 # Screenshots

For the audience, to have a better understanding of your app, app stores allow you to upload screenshots of your app.

And, it is also one of the significant aspects of your app store optimization.

While using screenshots, consider the most attractive shots of your app which display its features and benefits.

They should be scaled for mobiles and must not include heavy text.

You can use overlay text and annotations to improvise the message.

And using plain background is better for readability.

Your screenshots must be in high resolution and eye-catchy.

They need to explain what your app does clearly.

It is an efficient way through which you can let your users know how efficiently they can use your app.

Let your screenshots tell a story about your app instead of making them boring and predictable.

Screenshots-App store optimizationAccording to store maven, a better version of your first two screenshots will increase your conversions by 25%.

Therefore, present your most persuasive message in the first two screenshots.

Also, maintain the difference in the message portrayed by each screenshot used. That is, do not convey the same message repeatedly for better app store optimization.

8 # Featured graphics (Google play store only)

The featured graphic is displayed in the top-center of your app’s landing page when a viewer taps to explore more of your app store listing.

It is the most critical visual ASO asset of your app’s entire page along with your app icon.

Most of the times, app logos takes the form of featured graphics.

It is the branded-style graphic, with a brand logo at the center of either a single-color background or a photograph.

Featured graphic-app store optimizationSince, the visitor views it immediately as he enters the app landing page, featured graphic can act as your primary in-app promotional banner to gain your visitor attention and impression.

Your featured graphic design can depend on the type of app, typical users and the message it conveys.

Whether it is aiming for user engagement, express app’s benefits or convey uniqueness, the ultimate goal of the featured image should be to convince viewers to install your app.

You can also update your feature image based on the current events going on and relating to your app’s promotions.

Featured graphic -App store optimizationYour featured graphic should resonate with your users for better app store optimization.

And if implemented the best, featured graphic has enormous potential to drive the installations.

9 # Promo Video ( for Google play store only)

Promo video is also considered as one of the remarkable aspects of app store optimization in Google play.

Most of you might be thinking that promo video or preview trailer is meant to show some in-app footage.

But, it is nothing but not utilizing your most valuable ASO visual asset to the fullest.

You can describe your in-app footage using screenshots.

And you should secure the promo video for more creative and compelling stuff which creates an urge in the viewer to take up the action.

Promo video-app store optimizationThe recommended time for the promo video is 15-30 seconds in which you can explain different functionalities of your app in much creative and attractive versions.

According to AppAnnie, 10% of users drop for every five seconds they start watching the promo video.

It means viewers decision can change rapidly.

So, you need to convey the powerful message within first few seconds of your video in hooking and exciting format.

You can also use text captions to contextualize visuals.

You need to choose attention-grabbing poster frame which drives the users to click on it as soon as they see it.

Your promo video should be informative, entertaining and drive feature discoverability for better app store optimization.

10 # Localization

Your app should speak your users’ language.

When you are launching your plan globally, then ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula entirely does not work for App Store Optimization.

So, it is advisable to localize your App.

It includes essential changes for different versions like translating text to the respective language or adopting regional formats for time and date

You need to include local phrases, slang and cultural references of that specific location touching the emotional sensibilities for the target audience from that location.

The cultural adaption is the essential step in your Mobile App Store Optimization.

You can find colors and symbols having different significance and meaning in different cultures.

Furthermore, you have to change the characters and, for some countries, the reading direction.

Even your keywords are no exception for localization because users from different regions search apps with different keywords.

Hence, this ASO tactic has a very significant impact on the app ranking.

But unfortunately, many app developers ignore it.

App store optimization by localization

source: app radar

In actuality, localization of app store listings is an elementary form of app store optimization.

In iOS app store, when you open app details, you will find a phrase ‘version’ under which you must choose the language in which you would like to localize your app.

Make sure, you provide English as your primary language and translate your description texts, screenshots, etc. to the new local language.

Even Google Play offers some tools to make localizing your listing easier, including automatic translations.

Creating localized content can significantly increase visibility both in and outside the App Store.

If your app listing is only in English, you will be locking your app out from a huge chunk of mobile users worldwide.

Localization increase both adoption and conversion, as more customers can find your app using keywords in their language.

11 # Ratings and reviews of your app.

The app ranks in search results, to a certain extent, depending on how many ratings it has and how high those ratings are.

When new users visit your app page, they examine previous users’ experience very carefully.

Moreover, the reviews section is strikingly visible and prominent.

According to Apptentive, 59% of people usually or always check ratings before downloading an app

Therefore, it’s critical for your app’s success to receive as many 5-star ratings as possible.

You should make sure to highlight positive reviews.

And replying to negative comments immediately is one of the very important app store optimization techniques.

It’s possible for lousy customer experience due to any error or glitch which you need to fix it immediately.

So, don’t be shy about replying to negative reviews.

Thank users for their reviews whenever possible, irrespective of good or bad, and work on correcting issues brought up.

It is your responsibility to gather valuable user feedback and resolve their issues.

There are plenty of smart ways to encourage your users to rate your app.

The most apparent way is to ask for ratings from within the app while users are engaging with it.

You can implement such kind of request after they’ve used the app a few times, after they’ve spent a set amount of time using the app, etc.

You need to make way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to you for best app store optimization.

On the flip side, you can request happy customers to leave positive reviews for you.

Also, you’ll have to think outside the box for exciting and more effective ways to get your users ratings.

For example, the app Move the Box tied virtual currency to rate their app: if a user runs out of tokens, they can rate the app to earn more.

Ratings and reviews for App store optimization

12 # Number of downloads

Though it is an external factor, still it influences the ranking of your app in the app store search.

The irony is that you do Mobile Application Store Optimization to improve ranking and downloads for your app.

But simultaneously, the number of downloads you acquire has a significant impact on your app ranking.

Hence, it is the loop where the number of installations and app ranking go in a circle.

Downloads for App store optimization

You need to work on different marketing and advertising strategies externally to improve your downloads.

But, when you talk about app store factors, you need to identify and optimize different aspects which influence the number of downloads required.

For example, you may plan to use highly competitive keywords in your App Store Optimization.

But for that, you also require a high number of downloads to rank up well.

Ultimately, the better ASO you do, the more will be your number of downloads and vice versa.

Reminder:

Now, you know that number of downloads has a positive effect on your app ranking.

But, at the same time, the number of uninstalls have a negative impact in the app store.

Therefore, it is necessary to publish a bugs free app which users can interact with effortlessly.

For that, you just need a precise pre-launch strategy that increases engagement and decreases the amount of uninstalls.

13 # Backlinks

Backlinks from websites or other apps can influence the app store optimization of your apps in both iOS and Google app stores.

Good quality backlinks improve your search rank.

And poor backlinks create spam and degrade your search rank.

Therefore, you need to keep track of your backlinks and ensure your app has good quality backlinks.

That is, it should be from high authority websites.

You can use tools like Ahrefs to measure the authority of any mobile app and to track the backlinks from other apps.

The more and better links point to the URL, more the authority will be.

The backlinks should be relevant to the topic of your app.

If you are doing deep linking, make sure that the anchor text used should match the content on the app page.

You use backlinking extensively while both inbound and outbound promotions.

On the final note

App Store Optimization is a strategy which is more critical than you expect it to be to boost visibility for your app.

You would be focusing on things like app marketing, organic or paid advertising, In-app tactics, etc. for your app advertising.

That is fine.

Because you must not leave any chance to reach your target audience about your app and can make use of different App marketing tips that will make your app advertising awesome.

But, you should not forget that no matter which channels your viewers come from (cross promotion, organic search, paid campaigns or social media campaigns), they all land on the app store and decide whether to bounce or install.

Therefore, you should not give any chance for your users to step back from your app in the app store by neglecting ASO.

Moreover, Mobile App Store Optimization is the ongoing process because of the continually evolving ranking algorithms of the app stores.

You need to regularly update your App Store Optimization to stand in the race with your emerging competitors.

However, as you dig deeper, you will come across several other ASO factors that influence your app visibility in the app store.

Also, not all apps are the same, and different apps demand different App Store Optimization techniques.

And you need to understand which Mobile App Store Optimization techniques work well for your app.

For that, you should do trial and error with different ASO techniques.

Then you will be able to understand how the ASO techniques enhance your app ranking and presentation in the app store.

Hence, keep experimenting with different Mobile App Store Optimization techniques for best results.

As mentioned earlier, mobile apps are not only the service based products but also one of the extensive mobile marketing channels.

Understanding what is mobile marketing and how it is implemented through apps may lead you to figure out how you can promote your apps through In-app advertising in other apps.

Also, having substantial customer base provide you great scope for mobile marketing and monetization through your apps.

To attain such lucrative status to your mobile app, App Store Optimization is the kickoff strategy.

Let us know what do you think about these 13 App Store Optimization fundamentals.

Also, read 7 Damaging Mobile Marketing Myths You Need To Discard Immediately.

 

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Kalyani Hari

Kalyani is a former software employee, who chose to find her career in writing. Growing up as a vivid reader, she has nurtured her perceptions with objectivism. Her interest lies in human psychology and business topics. She likes to observe evolutionary patterns of thought processes. Currently, she is researching on emotions in digital communications. She loves to travel, explore and evolve.

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